Minimalist Living

I have too much stuff in my off-campus apartment, and it’s driving me nuts. I don’t know how I ended up with so many possessions — I mean, I’m still young! Imagine how crammed my space is going to be when I’m 30, 40, or 50!


I’d like to get more “minimalist,” but so much of this stuff seems essential to me. I have clothes that are out-of-season but that I’ll wear again soon, and I have tools and sports equipment and other stuff that serves a purpose. How do minimalists manage to keep their places so spare and clean?


“Minimalism” is a growing trend, and you don’t have to look far to understand why. We Americans are inundated with stuff: we seem to have more and more of it, despite the fact that homes have grown and technology has made so many types of physical media outdated. The statistics back all of this up: experts say that our homes are more cluttered than ever before. That’s costing us, because it costs about $10 per square foot, on average, to store things in our homes. And did you know that most people would gain an extra hour in their day, every day on average, if they just got a little more organized?


Handling all of this stuff is no easy task. There are countless books and blogs on the subject of organization and dealing with the high volume of possessions we own. Helpful as they may be, they’re not enough: studies show that home organization is stressing out Americans.


So what can you do? You’ve hit upon one possible solution: you need to get some of your stuff out of your living space.


That’s easier said than done, of course. Parting with possessions isn’t easy, and some of our seemingly excess clutter is, in fact, as essential as we imagine it to be. Fortunately, we have a few tips to share with you about downsizing your in-home possessions.


Let’s start with a pure form of minimalism: getting rid of stuff. The best way to ensure that you part with the right possessions is to develop a system. Experts offer all kinds of metrics for measuring the worthiness of your possessions. A few key takeaways: objects you keep should be useful or bring you joy (or, ideally, both!). Your system should also include a sorting policy: one common method is to use three categories in order to banish some objects for good, declare some objects safe, and keep a third set for further review.


But don’t assume that you have to be an ardent minimalist to gain space in your home. Spartan rooms look great on Instagram, but those of us who live in the real world have to live a bit more practically. To that end, don’t be afraid of organizational and storage solutions to ease your decluttering burden.


Storage units are a common and cost-effective technique for dealing with over-cluttered living spaces, say pros who rent out cheap storage units in Los Angeles. They’re a good place to stash those seasonal clothes and other things that you use rarely or only during part of the year. While you shouldn’t use storage units as a crutch — they’re not your best option for nick-nacks, of course — you may find that they can be a big help in clearing out some much-needed space in your home without forcing you to give up necessities or particularly valuable possessions.


Storage units are also a big help when you’re moving. As a college student, you might find it easier to make a move with a storage unit around to help you stash your stuff if your leases don’t quite overlap, or to help you get organized as you load things up for multiple trips.


By making tough but sensible decisions, you should be able to make practical changes and curb your maximalist lifestyle enough to enjoy your space more. Keep at it — having a comfortable and relatively clutter-free space will help you be more relaxed and happier. Good luck!


“Reduce the complexity of life by eliminating the needless wants of life, and the labors of life reduce themselves.”  — Edwin Way Teale


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